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#547500 05/05/22 01:25 PM
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19 acre pond. Ultimately we want to catch heavy bass.

We've caught some 7-8 pound channel cats, never a small one. I suspect they are not reproducing but to be honest we don't fish for channels much so maybe they are reproducing and I just don't have examples. We do catch a couple of bullheads every year but not a lot.

My question is; how important are channel cats? Should I restock some or just let them go and eventually die out?

I'm currently culling every small bass, any sized crappie, and green sunfish I catch. I will admit that I'm probably not making a dent on a BOW this size though.

Thoughts?

catscratch #547501 05/05/22 02:40 PM
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Channel Cats are not important if you want heavy bass.

Many would say they are detrimental to that heavy bass goal.

I'd leave them just for some variety. In a 19 acre lake, I'd probably add some every now and then just to sustain a small, very small, population.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

catscratch #547502 05/05/22 02:49 PM
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How do the bass look? Fat, skinny? Are the crappie stunted? Are catfish fish wanted ? When they get to the size you mentioned they are a predator. What other fish are in the lake?

catscratch #547504 05/05/22 03:29 PM
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We've caught some 22" to 24" bass but they weren't real heavy. Winter bass are always heavier than our summer bass (who sometimes look skinny). I would say they are usually "average" condition with few examples on either side of the bell curve.

Crappie are usually around 10-12 inches. Sometimes we catch a 16 incher but not often.

Catfish aren't wanted over larger bass. We can catch catfish elsewhere. If catfish are predating bass food then I don't need them. If catfish are keeping the bullheads in check then I want them. Does that make sense? I'm sure there are many angles I haven't looked at.

Fish I know of: LMB, black and white crappie, bluegill, green sunfish, golden shiners, bullhead, probably others that I'm unaware of or slipping my mind. There could be other minnow species that I haven't bothered to look at close enough to identify.

catscratch #547505 05/05/22 03:33 PM
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catscratch,

The interesting thing about CC is that can grow large even when the LMB can't. Just provided there aren't too many CC. But I agree with Sunil, they are not helping you grow large bass. All the same it would seem that your pond is notable example of large CC even while the LMB are too numerous. Not sure why this happens but CC are great generalists and they'll eat the annual turnover of old age and sick BG too which might contribute.

Last edited by jpsdad; 05/05/22 03:33 PM.

It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so - Will Rogers


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jpsdad #547510 05/05/22 04:43 PM
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Your bass will eat the bullheads also , bass have a big mouth….

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Pat Williamson #547513 05/05/22 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Pat Williamson
Your bass will eat the bullheads also , bass have a big mouth….

I actually was not sure on this point. I've never found a bullhead in a bass's stomach, but figure that a bass will eat anything that it can fit in it's mouth. My thoughts were that maybe bullheads and bass inhabit different area's of the pond often enough that they might not have many opportunities to prey on them. I do love to use bullheads for flathead bait! Maybe I should try one under a bobber for a LMB!

catscratch #547514 05/05/22 05:41 PM
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From the posts above I could either let it ride, or throw 50 fingerlings in and not have a worry in the world.

catscratch #547532 05/06/22 08:32 AM
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I'd try and harvest all the cats out if the goal is to grow bigger bass. The cats, once over about 3# start targeting fish to eat, so every pound that a cat puts on could theoretically be a pound of weight that a bass could put on.

Keep yanking the smaller bass, Crappie and Greenies out when you can, I'd also print out a relative weight chart and remove any of the larger bass that are less than 80% RW. The bass need a lot of forage to grow bigger, so anything you can do to boost the forage base for them will help.

How's the BG population in the pond?


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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
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catscratch #547534 05/06/22 08:38 AM
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I can certainly target the cats and try to remove them. We like to eat catfish so if they aren't going to be a benefit then might as well get the skillet hot.

Don't think I can accurately tell you how the BG population is. I can catch them easy enough and some of the shallows look like a honeycomb when they are spawning. Otherwise knowing their real density is above my pay-grade.

catscratch #547536 05/06/22 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by catscratch
From the posts above I could either let it ride, or throw 50 fingerlings in and not have a worry in the world.


With mature LMB in your lake, fingerling channel cats have a much lessened chance of survival, so it's really tough to know how many fingerlings would be needed to get survival. But if you've got various types of cover and plant growth, some may make it.

Regarding bullheads, my experience has been that LMB will eat them until they get to about 14", and then those bullies are a bit too big for the majority of LMB, so you end up some larger adult bullheads, and very few if any juveniles. In my main 4.5 acre pond, we remove all bullheads caught.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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catscratch #547562 05/06/22 05:50 PM
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catscratch,

I see Pat asked all the right questions and you gave him all the right answers. Hey you have some very good LMB already. You just need to keep the population of smaller LMB in check. 7 lb CC are definitely Competing with your >20 " LMB so removing some of them should help. Smaller CC aren't as formidable predator so you could replace them for clean up crew duty. Also culling your smaller LMB should help. Its got some big fish already so you just need to maintain and improve.


It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so - Will Rogers


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